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December Closes Out Fantastic Year for AEC Fair Trade

The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) continues to press forward with the Scope Clarification and Circumvention Case against China Zhongwang (ZW).  With this effort we continue to put pressure on the Department of Commerce (DOC) to make a decision on the 5xxx alloy issue.  In the background, the Third Administrative Review is winding down while the Fourth Administrative Review is underway.

On November 19, a representative of AEC sat down with the DOC to discuss our filing against ZW.  Evidence was laid out to their team demonstrating the impacts that the 5xxx alloy imports have had on the domestic market and the petition filed last month was reviewed.  The strength of our argument lies in the fact that the so-called 5xxx alloy extrusions flooding the U.S. market are either covered by the scope of our trade orders, or are a blatant attempt to evade duties.  Either way, this must stop! According to DOC rules, the Department has 45 days from the date of the filing to decide if a circumven…

November 2015 Update: U.S. Fair Trade Case against China

We have had a great deal of activity recently on the Fair Trade front. Over the last few weeks, the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) Fair Trade case has:

Requested a full investigation of allegations that Zhongwang (ZW) is transshipping aluminum extrusions through Vietnam and Malaysia into the U.S. in a plan designed to evade duties.Filed a Scope Clarification and Circumvention case against ZW at the Department of Commerce (DOC).  The AEC claimed ZW has not paid duties on subject merchandise they have brought into their warehouses in Southern California and then shipped to their facility in Delair, NJ only to be re-melted into billet.Received the post-preliminary results from the DOC on the CVD side of the 3rd annual review.Launched the 4th annual review process.Continued to push the DOC for a November decision on the 5050 alloy scope request.
Please see our special report on the first two items.  This is a major undertaking for the Council and the first time we have confronted ZW abo…

Special Report: Details Behind the China Zhongwang Case Filing

As noted in our post from October 23, the Aluminum Extruders Council filed a Circumvention and Scope Clarification case against China Zhongwang (ZW).  Mounting evidence from private investigators, testimony from former employees, data from online import and export databases, and anecdotal evidence from a variety of reporters and other sources made it quite clear that ZW has consistently and systematically been exporting aluminum extrusions that are simply welded together into what are essentially aluminum slabs.  While they claim these so-called ‘deep-processed’ extrusions are aluminum pallets, there is no evidence that ZW or any of its U.S. based operations market such a product.  It is simply incomprehensible that a company would export hundreds of millions of pounds of these extrusions into the U.S. without even marketing them.

The feedback we’ve received so far indicate that ZW intends to do with these extrusions what they have done in Mexico and Vietnam with similar schemes: sen…

AEC Files Scope Clarification and Circumvention Case against China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd.

The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) has filed a petition against China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. alleging the company has systematically and illegally evaded duties on aluminum extrusions imported into the United States.  The alleged scheme involves hundreds of millions of pounds aluminum extrusions that are simply cut and welded into aluminum slabs.  Upon entering the U.S. these extrusions are being identified as ‘pallets’ even though the testimony the Council has gathered makes it clear the sole purpose of these extrusions is to re-melt them back into billets.

“In late July, the AEC released a statement to the press calling on the United States Government, as well as others identified in theDupre Analytics report, to investigate issues of transshipment and circumvention by Zhongwang.  We have made our case to U.S. Customs regarding the transshipment allegations, and now we are filing our circumvention case with the Department of Commerce,” said Jeff Henderson, Director of Operations…

Circumvention Has Become Biggest Issue with AEC Fair Trade

Our trade case continues to be extremely active, especially with the big news generated from the Dupre Analytics report.  There are several issues to report that are changing with each week.

Administrative Reviews The Department of Commerce (DOC) has still not published the preliminary results from the 3rd annual administrative review. As you may recall, the rates published in June were incomplete and contained a major error.  The DOC says they will come out with those rates in October, but it is looking like they may not do that, and instead, just publish their final numbers in December.
The fourth administrative review has begun.  The DOC is selecting mandatory respondents now.  They rejected our request to select ZhongWang (ZW).  Their reasoning is that ZW is not the exporter of record in the trade data, so they can’t justify selecting them.  Therefore, it is likely we will see some of the same Chinese extruders we’ve seen before.

Scope Issues We lost a couple of decisions involv…

Report Alleges Massive Fraud by Chinese Extruder

Clearly, the most interesting news to report this month is the blockbuster report uploaded to the world at http://dupreanalytics.com/reports/.  The AEC has commented on that story in a separate piece, and through the media in recent weeks.  However, our trade case continues to move forward with the fourth administrative review now underway, scope requests being processed, and a minor (and rare) victory from the courts.

The AEC is asking the Department of Commerce (DOC) to name Zhongwang China as a mandatory respondent in this year’s administrative review.  Zhongwang was named as a mandatory respondent in the original filing and never responded.  It is unlikely they will this time, even if the DOC asks.  However, getting that on the record could be helpful on other fronts in light of the Dupre report.  We continue to await the Department’s post-preliminary ruling for the third administrative review.  As reported last month, we are hopeful that we will see an increase in rates.

The 5xx…

Circumvention Issues Continue to Heat Up, Fourth Administrative Review Under Way

For this month’s update we’ll discuss administrative reviews, update scope requests, and developments in circumvention cases.  Each one has several moving pieces, so I’ll only address the key highlights.  However, this month we have the added story of how the AEC’s lobbying efforts help form U.S. trade policy in landmark legislation that recently became law. AECmembers: read the July issue of the AEC member newsletter, essentiALs, for more information.

The fourth administrative review has just begun.  Every year at this time, the Department of Commerce (DOC) reviews import data to select top aluminum extrusions exporters from the People’s Republic of China.  From this list, they will pick two or three companies for the Anti-Dumping (AD) case, and a similar number for the Countervailing Duty (CVD) case.  Chinese extruders are also offered a chance to seek a special rate by agreeing to disclose all of their production and/or sales data.  We will know which companies the DOC selects in …

June Shaping Up to be Busy Month for Fair Trade

This month has shaped up so far to be a hectic and busy month on the AEC Fair Trade front. Three main issues have been at the forefront: the results of the Department of Commerce (DOC) announcement of its Preliminary Decision in the Third Administrative Review, the developments from Washington D.C. in the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, and circumvention.

Preliminary Results of Third Administrative Review
The DOC announced what amounts to a ‘preliminary’ preliminary finding in our industry’s third administrative review.  The Preliminary Decision was released June 2, 2015.  Here is the breakdown of their determination thus far: Anti-Dumping (AD) rates remain at 33%.  Jangho and Yuanda, the first & second mandatory respondents, received Adverse Facts Available (AFA), which is 33%.  It was announced that the third mandatory respondent, Union, received 0%.  However, there was a glaring error in that calculation.  So, the DOC will have to go back, recalculate, and announce the ri…

Fair Trade Update: AEC Advances Legislative Agenda

Over the last few weeks the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), its members, and leadership have made their voice heard in the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill making its way through Congress.  Adding our voice to manufacturers all across the country from the steel, solar panel, and tire industries (just to name a few), we aim to have the pending Customs Bill amendment adding to the historic TPA legislation.  As I write this month’s entry, AEC members and leadership are phoning, faxing, and emailing their elected officials asking for their support.  Hopefully, by the time you read this update, the results will be in, and we will have impacted a huge win for our industry and domestic manufacturing.
Of course, that effort is only part of the agenda being advanced by the AEC.  The Department of Commerce (DOC) issued its decisions regarding IKEA’s cabinet/drawer handles and IKEA’s towel racks. The Department found both sets of products to be in-scope merchandise. IKEA’s handles were ea…

2015 Shaping Up to be an Active Year

During our Annual Conference in Palm Desert last month we discussed our multi-front battle with Chinese extruders.  This included Annual Administrative Reviews, Scope Requests, Lobbying, and Circumvention.  I can tell you that 2015 will be an active year in every area.

We are in the middle of this year’s Administrative Review, which is our third one since the orders took effect in 2011.  There are a couple of key issues to address for the Administrative Review. The first key issue this year is which surrogate country will be chosen to calculate production costs used to establish duties.  We have a key opportunity this year because the previous surrogate country, The Philippines, is no longer on the ‘list’.  It gives our industry an opportunity to argue for a country whose economic scale more closely resembles China.  We fought hard to replace The Philippines in previous years because it was clearly not a good surrogate given China’s economic growth in recent years.  Now that China ha…

AEC Fair Trade: Staying the Course Yields Victories

At this year’s Annual Meeting, attendees were treated to a presentation from the lead attorney on our China Fair Trade Case.  In that presentation, which can be viewed here (you will need your AEC login credentials), Robert DeFrancesco, Partner at Wiley Rein, walked us through the key issues impacting not only our industry’s case, but the greater challenges to the aluminum market.  Please review Robert’s presentation and consider how important US-China trade issues are to aluminum extruders throughout North America.

These macro-political issues create challenges for our industry beyond our reach.  Only through collaborating with other industries that are under assault will we be able to influence policy-makers in the way we must in order to survive the relentless, unfair, and illegal trade actions coming out of the People’s Republic of China.

With this in mind, I was able to articulate AEC’s renewed strategy in my presentation in Palm Desert.  While we still must stay vigilant on sco…

$3 Million Settlement Reached in Shower Door Transshipment Case

Several news outlets reported that a settlement has been reached in the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against companies that allegedly were involved in an effort to evade duties on aluminum extrusions.

The Yuma News reported that “The Department of Justice announced last week that California-based C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., Florida-based Southeastern Aluminum Products Inc. and Texas-based Waterfall Group LLC have agreed to pay $2,300,000, $650,000 and $100,000, respectively, to resolve a lawsuit brought by the United States under the False Claims Act alleging that the companies engaged in schemes to evade customs duties on imports of aluminum extrusions from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”

U.S. Glass quoted C.R. Laurence Co., Inc. president, Lloyd Talbert, “"While we deny engaging in any of the alleged wrongful conduct, we are happy to have reached this settlement agreement so that we can ensure that our resources and focus remain on best serving our customers' needs …

AEC China Trade Case – 2015 Outlook

This year has started off with a bang!  The recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) that affirmed the Court of Internal Trade’s (CIT) determination in the curtain wall units and parts appeal was outstanding for the industry.  You can read more about that in the trade alert we sent the day the decision was announced here (http://aluminumextruderscouncil.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-court-of-appeals-for-federal.html))  Like this decision, there are a number of open issues we expect to see resolved in 2015.  The Department of Commerce (DOC) released its final determination in the second annual review in late December.  Overall, the final results were largely consistent with the Department’s preliminary results. With regard to the countervailing duty (CVD) results, by successfully persuading the Department not to use LME-based benchmarks, we were able to preserve much of the CVD margins.

This is a good long-term precedent.  However, you will note that the…

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Rules in Favor of the Domestic Curtain Wall Industry

In so doing, the Court of Appeals sides with the Department of Commerce, the Court of International Trade, and the Curtain Wall Coalition.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued its decision affirming the determination by the Court of International Trade (CIT) that curtain wall units and parts fall within the scope of the tariffs on aluminum extrusions imported from China. In affirming the CIT’s decision, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) found that (1) the Curtain Wall Coalition (CWC) companies had standing to file the underlying scope request, and (2) the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) original determination that the curtain wall units and components at issue were included as in-scope merchandise was proper.

Several Chinese curtain wall producers, including Yuanda USA, Shenyang Yuanda Aluminum Industry Engineering Co. Ltd., and Jangho Curtain Wall Americas Co. Ltd, appealed the CIT’s decision made last year.   At that time, the CIT he…